Written by Michael Palomba
California Democrats are at it again, meddling and regulating something that they shouldn’t be. And as usual, it’s in the name of “workers’ rights.” Also, as usual, they didn’t consider the consequences of this meddling, and their constituents are the ones who are now suffering because of it.
AB 5, written by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and signed into law by Governor Newsom, aims to reclassify independent contractors as part-time or full-time employees. Being classified as an employee rather than an independent contractor would grant employees things like benefits, a “minimum” hourly wage, and overtime pay, but it doesn’t come without a price.
Being an employee rather than an independent contractor changes fundamental job aspects such as the ability to set your own schedule and the ability to work as many hours as you want. It also drastically increases the cost of an employee, meaning many businesses will let workers go rather than attempting to transition them to employees.
San Diego cartoonist Lisa Rothstein’s field has been impacted by the new bill. She predicts that she will lose business in the future as companies become reluctant to hire California-based outside contractors. There is a lot that is unclear about the new bill, which will inevitably result in some companies avoiding California-based workers altogether.
Rebecca Lawson, editor-in-chief for SBNation, published an article titled “California’s terrible AB5 came for me today, and I’m devastated” in December. She explains that despite “a small carve-out in the statute that allows for paid writers or editors to continue to produce a very limited amount of content per company, it’s not nearly enough, and it would be hard for me or most of my colleagues to fit in that small box.”
She continues, “So, SB Nation has chosen to do the easiest thing they can to comply with California law — not work with California-based independent contractors, or any contractors elsewhere writing for California-based teams.”
When asked on twitter about freelancers’ concerns that the new bill would cause “a shortage of good jobs,” Gonzalez retorted:
When another user questioned the ability of people to have “2-3 side hustles” Gonzalez snapped back:”
Clearly, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is very concerned about the effects her bill will have on constituents and is willing to engage respectfully.
It’s certain that AB 5 will continue to be fought against heavily. In fact, Uber and Postmates filed a new lawsuit aiming to stop the bill in late December. A federal judge also recently issued a temporary restraining order, preventing the bill from affecting over 70,000 independent truckers.
The future of AB 5 is unclear, but it certainly looks bleak for those who will be affected by it.